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Home Range Dynamics of Rodents in a Sagebrush Community

Michael J. O'Farrell
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1380131 657-668 First published online: 24 November 1978


Home range sizes were estimated seasonally for Microdipodops megacephalus and Perognathus longimembris and biweekly for Dipodomys merriami, D. ordii, D. panamintinus, D. microps, and Peromyscus maniculatus. Mean estimates are also presented for Reithrodontomys megalotis and Onychomys torridus. Principal component analysis was used to calculate home range values because of its ability to deal with a wide variety of home range configurations. All species showed great variability in home range size throughout the year. Shape of home range was similarly variable, although most species tended towards elliptical movement configurations. The heteromyids showed consistency in annual composite home range areas (0.33–0.49 ha) regardless of body size. The generally smaller cricetine rodents exhibited much larger composite home range areas (0.95–1.42 ha). Emphasis is placed on the utility of point-in-time estimates of movements rather than obtaining a single home range value, which subordinates the dynamic nature of small mammal movements.

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